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President Trump Hints at Citizenship Path for Dreamers

As the expiration date for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) approaches on March 5, US President Donald Trump tried to allay fears of the so-called “Dreamers,” according the New York Times.

On Wednesday, Trump told reporters gathered at the White House that Dreamers “should not be concerned” about the threat of deportation that looms beyond the March 5 deadline, Bloomberg reports.

Instead, the president said that he was open to a path to citizenship for Dreamers —  undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children who are allowed to work and go to college and who are shielded from deportation through DACA, according to the Times.

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“Over a period of 10 to 12 years,” Trump said, “somebody does a great job, they work hard — that gives incentive to do a great job. Whatever they’re doing, if they do a great job, I think it’s a nice thing to have the incentive of, after a period of years, being able to become a citizen.”

There are more than 800,000 people who have signed up for DACA, and a total of 3.6 million people who qualify for the Dreamer status, according to USA Today. Additionally, there are around 11.3 million undocumented immigrants throughout the country.

Trump’s words earned the praise of politicians who have been working for immigration reform and want to protect Dreamers.

Read More: A Federal Judge Just Temporarily Blocked Trump’s DACA Decision

But the president’s announcement also sparked alarm among his staunchest political allies.

These latest statements continue the dizzying back-and-forth positioning on Dreamers from the White House. Trump has consistently said that he supports protecting Dreamers, but he has also pursued policies that endanger their status.

Read More: The Faces Behind the Figures: 5 Dreamers Share Their Hopes and Fears

He once said that he wants “a bill of love” to permanently help DACA recipients, but last year he terminated the program indefinitely.

And in recent months some have argued that he has used DACA as a bargaining chip to get funds to build a wall along the Mexican border, a campaign promise of his, and for stronger overall immigration enforcement, the Times notes.

The recent 3-day government shutdown revolved partly around finding a legislative solution for DACA.  

That ultimately failed to happen, but with the government only funded through Feb. 8, attempts to address DACA may be prioritized in the weeks ahead so that another government shutdown can be avoided, the Times reports.

Read More: Dreamers of a New American Dream

And now the president’s public support of a compromise may help to move things along.

Global Citizen campaigns on the UN’s Global Goals, which call for humane immigration policies. You can take action on this issue here.